Chocolate lovers ‘crawl’ to downtown Florence event

Anyone with an affection for sweet chocolate confections should check out the Downtown Chocolate Crawl Feb. 6.

Florence Main Street is hosting the event and tickets are going fast.

During the event, more than 30 local businesses will offer different chocolate confections to 350 ticket holders.

General Manager of the Shoals Theatre Steven Price said the theatre participated in the crawl last year. Crawl attendees chose their chocolate sample, tiny chocolate mice, to represent their current play, “Of Mice and Men,” as the crawl favorite.

This year’s confection will be a foil-covered casino chip representing the upcoming play, “Tuna Does Vegas,” he said.

While the theatre does not offer anything for sale like most of the participating businesses, Price said he hopes people will stop by.

“We just want to get people in those doors and let them fall in love with the theatre like we all have,” he said.

Tickets for this year’s event, running from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.— or until the chocolate runs out — went on sale Jan. 18 and cost $10. Tickets are available through the Florence Main Street office.

Registration for the event takes place at Wilson Park where participants will receive a wrist band that allows businesses to know who to give chocolate to, said Events Coordinator of Florence Main Street Molly Austin.

Ticket holders will receive a map and a list of participating businesses, said Executive Director of Florence Main Street Teryl Shields. They can choose which businesses they want to visit first.

T-shirts, something new this year, will be available for purchase for $20 if ordered before Feb. 5 and $25 the day of the event, she said.

“It’s going to be chocolate-brown with a four-color Willy Wonka candy-themed image on it,” she said.

In addition to the chocolate treats, businesses will offer a 10 percent discount to all ticket holders that day, Austin said.

“The idea is, it’s our job as Main Street to bring people into downtown,” Shields said. “We’re going one step further with this particular event by actually getting them to go into the businesses. It is hoped that it is a shopping event for the downtown businesses.”

The Chocolate Crawl, and other Florence Main Street events, raises money to attract more people to downtown Florence, Shields said.

“(Last year) was phenomenally successful,” she said. “We sold out 200 tickets in a very short period of time.”

UNA alumna Sarah Hood, who won tickets to last year’s event and plans to attend again this year, said her and her husband’s favorite treat were the chocolate mice the Shoals Theatre gave away.

“We were really impressed with all of the stores’ different chocolate goodies, and especially the creativity,” she said. “None of the stores had the same thing, so that was a feat considering how many places there were offering sweets.”

Shields said one thing about last year’s ticket sales caught her attention.

“The very first 10 tickets we sold were to husbands wanting to do a fun Valentine’s date event with their wives,” she said. “That blew my mind.”

This year’s event, publicized mostly through social media, has had over 63,000 views, Shields said.

The owners of The Coiffure at 108, John and Kris Walls, said the salon participated last year and plans to take part again this year.

“We like to participate for a couple of reasons,” Kris said. “First of all, we like being a part of the downtown community. Also, it helps people find out about us and other businesses that they may not even be aware of.”

The salon plans to give out homemade chocolate soaps this year, she said.

Shields said she understands there will be a lot of chocolate to consume, so they will provide participants with a goodie bag, including a to go box.